Education Technology

Top 10 Books for Every Teacher’s Summer Reading List

Posted 07/14/2020 by Kevin Spry, Manager, T³™ Professional Development, Texas Instruments, @kspry

For teachers, the summer months can be a prime time for catching up on reading to get inspired and recharge your batteries for the upcoming school year. One of the most effective ways to keep your teaching skills sharp is the same thing we encourage our students to do over the summer: read. We polled some of our favorite educators for the books they turn to for inspiration.

Below are our top 10 books, with high SPF (summer professional fun) levels, to dive into this summer.

Book cover of John Urschel's book, Mind and Matter, A Life in Math and Football
Take a cue from summer assignments to students and create your own summer reading list for professional learning, inspiration and fun. We’ve compiled a top 10 list for teachers’ summer reading lists.

  1. “Mind and Matter: A Life in Math and Football” by John Urschel, former professional football player turned full-time mathematician, and his wife, Louisa Thomas. A New York Times bestseller, this book tells the story of Urschel’s life balanced between two passions: math and football. It explores the challenges of making difficult choices and the rewards of following one’s passions. It’s a winner!
  2. “Hidden Figures” by Margot Lee Shetterly. Now a major motion picture, this powerful book reveals the true story of the black female mathematicians at NASA whose calculations helped fuel some of America’s greatest achievements in space. This is a truly inspirational read, recommended by Maryland Science teacher and T³™ National Instructor, Jessica Kohout, that will encourage you to shoot for the moon.
  3. “Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning” by Peter C. Brown et al. Recommended by T³™ instructor and Ontario Association of Mathematics Education President, Paul Alves, this book draws on recent work in cognitive psychology and other disciplines with a goal to promote more productive learners. Throughout the book, the authors weave together stories from an array of learners ― from gardeners to surgeons ― to illustrate how successful learning takes place. This book will stick with those interested in self-improvement and lifelong learning.
  4. “How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking” by Jordan Ellenberg. Recommended by John Urschel, this book is a fantastic exercise in applying math to everyday real-world issues and illustrates the importance of thinking for oneself. This captivating read illustrates how math touches everything we do and takes you on a journey to the true meaning of information we take for granted, such as “How early should you get to the airport?” or “Why do tall parents have shorter children?”
  5. “Infinite Powers: How Calculus Reveals the Secrets of the Universe” by Steven Strogatz. Also recommended by John Urschel, this captivating read shines a light on the history and importance of calculus in a grounded way that does not require any mathematical background. It’s a must-read for anyone preparing to take calculus or anyone who wants to experience the beauty of calculus without having to take a course on it.
  6. “Math Hacks: Cool Tips + Less Stress = Better Marks!” by Vanessa Vakharia. Anyone can be a math person — and this book will help. Recommended by our @TICalculators social media team, it’s designed for kids (and their parents) struggling with math anxiety and looking for a new approach to homework, studying, tests and marks. The most common problem areas in the curriculum are broken down and explained in an affirming and upbeat tone.
  7. “Powerful Teaching: Unleash the Science of Learning” by Pooja K. Agarwal et al. Recommended by a math teacher and T³™ instructor from Charlotte, North Carolina, Rob Sharpe, this book illustrates ways to apply the science of learning in classroom settings. There are many practical strategies and solutions that can be easily implemented. This book will help you turn your teaching into powerful teaching and unleash student learning in your classroom.
  8. “Hacking Leadership: 10 Ways Great Leaders Inspire Learning That Teachers, Students, and Parents Love” by Joe Sanfelippo et al. This book comes highly recommended by T³™ instructional coach Valerie Hudson for its concrete ways for bringing fun and passion to your school. The authors are award-wining school administrators who provide high-impact solutions for any educator looking to inspire students, teachers, staff or parents.
  9. “Multimedia Learning” by Richard E. Mayer. Recommended by online educator extraordinaire and T³™ instructor, Rick Snow, this book explores the power of multimedia learning as a means of promoting human understanding. The book covers key principles of multimedia instructional design that are helpful to consider as many of us are pivoting to online instruction.
  10. “Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World” by David Epstein. The book makes a compelling case for the importance of creativity and being agile and able to make connections across many fields. The most impactful inventors often cross domains rather than focus on just one area. Recommended by Director of Teaching and Learning at Trinity School and award winning T³™ National Instructor Jill Gough, the books provides a thought provoking read.

I have to say, it sure was tough to choose just 10 books. Over the years, the #T3Learns community has conducted an annual #slowchat book study where you can find other recommended book titles here.

Happy reading!

About the author: Kevin Spry…. Kevin was a classroom teacher of mathematics and economics for over 15 years. He was a former National T³™ Instructor and has delivered numerous workshops and talks. He is currently leading the T³™ Professional Development team at Texas Instruments in their EdTech division.